Joint Forces Initiative has a simple goal: to use "today’s best technology to connect top pro athletes & celebrities to troops all over the world."
The nonprofit was founded in 2007 by Greg and Addie Zinone. That year, Addie was deployed to Iraq, 2 months after their wedding. As a way to stay connected to troops in Iraq, the two started "Pros Vs. GI Joe," a program that would work to pit professional athletes and troops head-to-head in video games competitions. The hope was to allow time for troops to take a break from the stresses of military service, as well as giving athletes and other figures to show support for those overseas.
Since then, the program expanded to troops outside Iraq, as well, and participation from professional teams has steadily grown. Teams that have taken part range from the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL and even a number of MMA fighters.
As more events continued to happen, Greg and Addie expanded into doing more events beyond the original PVGIJ mission. That is when Joint Forces Initiative became the umbrella for the rest of the programs to develop. One of these, for example, is what is known as "Purpose-Driven Rehab." They provided scholarships to wounded veterans to assist in various Pro vs.GI Joe and tailgating events at sporting events nationwide.
They also have a program called "Live Salute" which honors troops at a specific base or area via live broadcast at major sporting events.
What started as a project for one region in particular has grown into something quite impactful. With hundreds of troops having taken part in these programs, as well as support from numerous teams and figures, the Zinones hope to expand this further.
For more information, or to support and donate, visit: https://jointforcesinitiative.org/
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